The scenario: The sweet 85 year old associate pastor hasn’t sent you that document you need yet, so you offer to help. When he hands you his church issued Macbook you open it up and find the desktop completely covered by shortcuts to HTML webpages and folders named “Untitled”.
I know all the cool churches have those fancy laptops with the fruit on the back, but maybe you don't need all that power to check emails. Maybe instead on buying everyone on your staff shiny new $1500 Macbooks, you should consider a $200 (or less) chromebook.
So let’s take a look at why you should or shouldn’t use chromebooks for your church staff.
Why you SHOULD use Chromebooks
They are cheaper. Like WAY cheaper. I purchased my chromebook on groupon for $120. That would mean you could buy 10 chromebooks for every 1 Macbook.
They are simple. Depending on who is using them and what they are doing with them this could be a good thing or bad. Pretty much all you can do on a chromebook is adjust computer settings and open web apps.
They are unavoidably cloud based. It is much harder to lose files on your computer when there are no files on your computer. While most chromebooks do have a small hard drive and you could store something on it, that is not common. All the apps you will use are based in the cloud. Your email, documents, slideshows, spreadsheets, pictures, apps: everything is done through the chrome browser. If your church already uses google apps for its documents, this is a perfect solution for the members of your staff who use their computer exclusively for google apps and email.
Why you should NOT use Chromebooks
Creative work. Music production, video editing, graphic design. All of these things are outside the domain of the chromebook. Any creative work that requires heavy processing power need to be done on a “pro” laptop like a macbook
OS specific apps: If you use any essential apps that are PC or Mac only than obviously you shouldnt use a chromebook. Chrome OS is its own operating system and cannot run Mac or PC apps.
Other uses for Chromebooks
A communal office laptop. If you want a laptop to keep in the church office for anyone to use a chromebook is a great option for 2 reasons. 1. It is cheap, so if it happened to get mishandled or lost, it isn’t quite the financial lose. 2. Everyone who uses it will sign on with their own google account and have their own personal computer. It is like having everyone's own laptop together in 1 machine.
Kids sign in: If you have a computer that only ever needs to run one website or cloud app such as at a kids check in station, then a chromebook is a cheap and efficient solution.
Other rooms: Maybe you have a secondary meeting room in which you have occasionally worship services or presentations. Possibly a volunteers office. A prayer room. Anywhere people may need to get online is a good place for a chromebook.
If your church staff needs macbooks to do their work then by all means buy macbooks. We should always try our best to equip our leaders with what they need. But why waste church resources on a $1500 computer to just check emails when you could buy the entire staff chromebooks for less than the cost of one macbook.
And have extra for tacos.
So the moral of our story here is simple: Always buy your church staff tacos.
…..I think I may have gotten off track somewhere.